A state’s personal injury statute of limitations prevents parties from filing civil lawsuits after a specific deadline. While courts mean for a statute of limitations to limit the impact of faulty memories on legal cases, this limited filing timeline can make it difficult for survivors to bring their cases forward.
In the realm of sexual harassment, injury isn’t the only thing stopping survivors from filing their cases. Shame and intimidation both play a role in a person’s ability to file a suit. That’s why New York recently passed an act to help survivors file claims outside of the state’s statute of limitations. Now Sexual Abuse Adult Survivors Act lawyers in New York can help you prep your case.
Reading the New York Sexual Abuse Adult Survivors Act
Previously, it’s proven difficult for survivors of sexual abuse to take legal action against their abusers. The complexities of personal injury legislation partnered with the shame of sexual abuse have left many survivors without a path forward. The New York Sexual Abuse Survivors Act of 2022 moves to correct this absence.
The act comes forward as a response to the growing #MeToo movement. Governor Hutchel wants the act to offer survivors the opportunity to hold individuals and institutions accountable for the losses they endured at the hand of allegedly-liable individuals.
More specifically, the New York Sexual Abuse Adult Survivors Act creates a look-back period of one year for sexual abuse survivors. From November 2022 to November 2023, sexual abuse survivors may bring forward sexual abuse cases regardless of their cases’ previous statute of limitations. New York Sexual Abuse Adult Survivors Act attorneys can build these cases.
The New Rights Provided to Survivors
What does this mean for survivors of sexual abuse? It means that so long as the survivor in question was over the age of 18 at the time an incident took place, said survivor can bring their concerns before a judge without worry about New York’s statute of limitations.
The goal of this act is to give survivors who previously didn’t recognize or report their abuse the opportunity to hold the right parties accountable for their losses. The act further specifies that survivors can hold both individuals and institutions accountable for sexual abuse, particularly in cases involving quid pro quo.
Interested parties are encouraged to meet with a Sexual Abuse Adult Survivors Act lawyer in New York to discuss the extent of their legal options. New York judges anticipate that securing a court date may be challenging in light of the look-back period as many parties prepare to come forward–which makes connecting with an attorney all the more beneficial for you.
How to Recognize Sexual Abuse
The term “sexual abuse” covers more than nonconsensual sex. Coercion, nonconsensual intimacy, and the attempted control of another person’s sex life can also constitute sexual abuse. Sexual assault and abuse tend to go hand-in-hand, as well, making it particularly important to assess your awareness/consent in uncomfortable circumstances.
Note that anyone who refuses to acknowledge a change in your willingness to engage in a sexual situation can be accused of sexual assault and/or abuse. You have the right to revoke consent at any time during an encounter, and that right needs to be respected.
Unfortunately, the signs of sexual abuse aren’t always obvious, either to others or even to yourself. It can sometimes take years to process the sexual abuse you’ve endured–thus the reason for the New York Sexual Abuse Adult Survivor Act’s extension of case statute of limitations. Some of the most common signs of abuse that a survivor may exhibit include:
- Social withdrawal
- Change in personality or interests
- Increased anxiety and/or depression
- Unexplained pain or bruising
- Abrupt pregnancy, if applicable
How to Report Adult Sexual Abuse
It can be frightening to report adult sexual abuse, particularly if you fear retaliation for your report. Our attorneys strive to provide you with protection from harm, though, in addition to the right to quantifiable legal action. If you feel ready to bring your sexual abuse to the attention of a civil court, you can do so with our help.
Moreover, our team can both help you draft a sexual abuse claim and file for a New York protective order. The protective order can keep an offending party away from you while you pursue your lawsuit and, in some circumstances, even protect you after a case concludes. Your claim, comparatively, brings the details of your circumstances to a judge’s attention.
More specifically, your sexual abuse claim needs to name the party liable for your losses. You must provide evidence of that inappropriate treatment alongside an estimate of the damages you may be owed. This, notably, is the process for filing a civil complaint–if you wish to press criminal charges against an offending party, you can work with a criminal prosecutor.
You Can Pursue Criminal and Civil Sexual Assault Lawsuits at the Same Time
If you’d like the person you’ve accused of sexual assault to face criminal charges, you can connect with a criminal prosecutor. What’s more, you can pursue a civil suit and a criminal suit at the same time. In many cases, your criminal suit can benefit your civil claim’s request for compensation.
More specifically, criminal convictions serve as proof of negligence in civil court. This means that you can use a criminal conviction to argue that you deserve financial support in the wake of sexual assault/abuse. Our New York Sexual Abuse Adult Survivors Act attorneys can help elaborate on the connection between these two legal approaches.
Let’s Talk About Your Right to Civil Action Today
While changes in legislation have made it easier for survivors to discuss their circumstances, it’s still difficult to talk about sexual harassment. Our team has the means to help you seek justice for the wrongs you endured. If you want to take action under the new Sexual Abuse Adult Survivors act, let Isaacs & Isaacs stand with you.
We have a history of standing up for our clients–and the case victories to prove our expertise. You can schedule a case consultation with a New York Sexual Abuse Adult Survivors Act lawyer today. Contact us for more information about our services and how we can use them to your benefit.